Leonora (opera)
Leonora, ossia L’amore coniugale (Leonora or Conjugal Love) is an opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 (specifically a dramma semiserio) in two acts by the Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 composer Ferdinando Paer
Ferdinando Paer
-Biography:Paer was born at Parma. His father was a trumpeter with the Ducal Bodyguards and also performed at church and court events. His name, Ferdinando, was after Duke Ferdinand of Parma and was given to him by Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria, Duke Ferdinand's wife...

. The libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

, by Giovanni Schmidt
Giovanni Schmidt
-Life:He moved to Naples whilst still young and stayed there his whole life. Between 1800 and 1840 he wrote libretti for 45 operas, especially for the Teatro San Carlo, for which he was official poet. He and Andrea Leone Tottola were the two librettists who dominated theatrical life in Naples in...

, is based on Léonore ou L’Amour conjugal (1794) by Jean-Nicolas Bouilly
Jean-Nicolas Bouilly
Jean-Nicolas Bouilly was a French playwright, librettist, children's writer, and politician of the French Revolution...

, which was also the source of Beethoven's Fidelio
Fidelio is a German opera in two acts by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is Beethoven's only opera. The German libretto is by Joseph Sonnleithner from the French of Jean-Nicolas Bouilly which had been used for the 1798 opera Léonore, ou L’amour conjugal by Pierre Gaveaux, and for the 1804 opera Leonora...

. Beethoven himself owned a score of Paer's opera and it is believed to have had some influence on his work. Leonora was first performed at the Kleines Kurfürstliches Theater, Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 on 3 October 1804 with the composer's wife singing the title role.


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 3 October 1804
Leonora soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

Francesca Riccardi-Paer
Marcellina soprano Charlotte Häser
Florestano tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

Don Fernando tenor
Don Pizarro tenor
Rocco bass
Giacchino bass


Leonora disguises herself as a man in order to infiltrate the prison where her husband, Florestano, is being held by his enemy, Don Pizarro. She fools the jailer Rocco into giving her a job. When Don Pizarro hears of the imminent arrival of the governor, Don Fernando, he orders Rocco to execute Florestano. Leonora accompanies Rocco to the underground cell where Florestano is being held then threatens the jailer with a pistol until Don Fernando arrives and Florestano is freed.


The UK première was given by Bampton Classical Opera
Bampton Classical Opera
Bampton Classical Opera is an opera company based in Bampton, Oxfordshire specialising in the production of lesser known opera from the Classical period...

in 2008, in English. There was also a perfomance and recording made in 1979 by Peter Maag and the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra staring Ursula Koszut, Edita Gruberova, Siegfried Jerusalem and Giorgio. Recorded in Stereo on 3 LPs with libretto, London OSA 13133 British pressing, ED4 black and silver label.


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